A ballad for the babies and the mothers

Abortion | Andrée Seu Peterson

A ballad for the babies and the mothers

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PHILADELPHIA—On the day everybody who was anybody was in court, on the day of closing arguments in abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial, a woman made her way to me through the crowd. Her face was different from the faces of the hard-nosed reporters milling about—those recorders of facts for the afternoon deadline whom I had seen for a month. I could read on her face the pain of being in the room, and the death she had to die to breathe that air.

The woman leaned in close and said, “I have been praying for you since I knew you were coming here.” She said she worked for a place called Alpha Pregnancy Services in Philadelphia, and that this trial was personal for her. She also said her office gets the women after the Gosnells are through with them.

I would like to step aside today and share this ballad, which through lyrics tells a truer tale of woe than prose could ever do, of mothers and the children, all the victims of the slaughter, past and present, and to come:

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There was a fair maiden who lived in the north,
Oh, the rose and the lindsey, oh.
She fell in love with her father’s serf
Down by the Greenwood side, oh.

He courted her a year and a day,
Oh, the rose and the lindsey, oh.
Till her the young man did betray
Down by the Greenwood side, oh.

She leaned her back against the thorn,
Oh, the rose and the lindsey, oh.
And there she had two little babes born
Down by the Greenwood side, oh.

She took her pen knife clean and sharp,
Oh, the rose and the lindsey, oh.
And pierced those two babes to the heart
Down by the Greenwood side, oh.

As she was walking by her father’s wall,
Oh, the rose and the lindsey, oh,
She spied two boys a playin’ ball
Down by the Greenwood side, oh.

She said, “O babes, if thou wer’t mine,”
Oh, the rose and the lindsey, oh,
“I’d dress you up in silk so fine”
Down by the Greenwood side, oh.

“Ah, mother dear, when we were thine,”
Oh, the rose and the lindsey, oh,
“You did not treat us then so fine”
Down by the Greenwood side, oh.

She said, “Ah babes, ’tis you can tell,”
Oh, the rose and the lindsey, oh,
“What kind of death I’ll have to die”
Down by the Greenwood side, oh.

If the story ended there we could all drink deep of despair. But the woman in the courtroom told me that on Lombard Street they’re in the business of redemption, and that they share a Savior with a Blood that even for these sins atones.

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